If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
Washing your hands is a great practice if you want to stop the spread of germs, but you can instantly undo that hard work by touching a dirty screen or keyboard. A study published by the NIH (National Institute of Health) found that the average person’s phone display can hold up to 17,000 bacteria, including those that can spread diseases. These are devices that most of us touch dozens of times a day, after commutes, in public spaces, or just around the house.
Cleaning your technology as often as possible is important, but some traditional cleaners use chemicals that can damage them. If you want to clean your devices effectively without any risks, you’ll need to use products specifically designed to be used on them. Nobody wants to sit down and diligently clean their phone screen or computer keyboard, but it’s an important way to keep your devices from getting too dirty. It may also reduce the chances of you getting sick.
1. A Screen Cleaner Kit
This kit from WHOOSH! includes everything you need to safely clean any screen in your home. It comes with with two bottles of “screen shine,” a liquid formula that contains no alcohol or ammonia, and three microfiber clothes. These cloths can be use to remove dust from computer or TV screens when dry, and won’t leave any scratches.
The company says its screen cleaning solution can kill up to 99.99% of dust, dirt, oil, and gunk, but stops short of mentioning bacteria. It does mention that WHOOSH!’s “screen shine” is used by Apple to clean devices at its stores.
2. A UV Sanitizing Wand
A recent paper published by Columbia University found that UV (Ultraviolet) Light can be effective at killing viral bacteria without doing damage to your tech or body. Monos’ CleanPod is a handheld UV sanitizer you can use to clean any surface. I’ve tried it myself, and have found it really easy to use.
There’s a power switch on the left side, and a button on top that lets you turn the light on and off. The cleaner is lightweight, and produces a purple light that isn’t annoyingly bright (even in the dark). Monos says its sterilizer can kill up to 99.9% of bacteria and pathogens in 30 seconds without creating any heat, or requiring any chemicals.
If you’d like a quick way to disinfect your gadgets (and every other surface in your home), this is a good option.
3. Compressed Air
If you’ve got crumbs in your keyboard, or notice your computer’s fan spinning up more than usual, the quickest solution is compressed air. Dust-Off offers an eight pack of 10oz (ounce) canisters, which should be enough to dislodge years worth of dust from the inside of your machine.
The company says its compressed air contains no propane, butane, or other environmentally hazardous materials. That said, you should only use compressed air in an open environment, and avoid skin exposure because it can cause frost bite. To use compressed air properly, you should hold the can a few inches away from the object you’re cleaning.
4. A Bacteria-Resistant Screen Protector
InvisibleShield’s VisionGuard+ Screen Protector can keep your phone’s display from cracking, and prevent you from coming into contact with unwanted bacteria.
The screen protector is made out of glass that’s been treated with an anti-bacterial material that’s embedded into the glass. InvisibleShield says it can kill 99.99% of common surface bacteria, and won’t wear off, even with extended use.
This screen protector also uses InvisibleShield’s ClearPrint™ technology, which spreads the oil in your finger into such a thin layer that they’re nearly impossible to see. InvisibleShield’s VisionGuard+ Screen Protector is available for the iPhone X, Xs, and 11 Pro.
5. Cloth Lens and Screen Cleaner Pro-Grade
If you’d prefer a cleaning solution you can take with you everywhere, iCloth’s Lens and Screen Wipes are the right choice. The wet cloths are saturated with a liquid solution that’s 75% purified water, and both alcohol and ammonia free. The company says its wipes are safe to use glasses, phones, laptops, computer monitors, and TV screens.
Each wipe in this package is only 5-inches long and 3.5-inches wide, so you can easily stash it in your pocket, or a compartment in your backpack. The company says airlines, including Delta, Southwest, and AirCanada use its wipes to keep their flight deck displays clean.
iCloth says these wipes can clean off fingerprints, grease, and other residue without leaving streaks, but doesn’t mention any antibacterial properties. Wiping your screen down leave it cleaner than it was before, especially if you’re in an environment like an airplane, but it’s wise to use more heavy duty cleaning products when you get home.